We jammed today. Not the making of music, but the squishing of fruit to eat during the long winter months. Certain people love their toast, peanut butter and jam in the morning. A certain big person loves variety. So during the summer months, this mama and her brood make jam.
Making jam does not come naturally to me. I didn't grow up around food preservation and regard it as largely too complicated for me. It is, but I'm having an adventure figuring it out. Every time I conquer a new skill, I feel a deep sense of accomplishment. Whenever I eat the fruit of that skill, I feel proud. Feeding my family good food that I made is important to me. Especially if said food is local, healthy and organic. But I still like to make cake. :)
Yesterday I purchased 10lbs of local, organic cherries from an orchard that treats it's employees extremely well. That matters to me. Today I attempted to make jam without pectin. Apparently sweet cherries have a high concentration of natural pectin. After dropping Zane off at dance camp, we began. I was worried. Making jam with a two year old is a bit of a scary task. Kian especially is very good at getting into mischief or being extremely clingy while I'm trying to work. I worried that today would be a disaster. Was I wrong!
Instead of being a nuisance, Kian turned into an asset. He pulled up a chair alongside his sister and began to work. At first, he took on the role of de-stemming the cherries. Other than occasionally putting stems in the wrong bowl, he did very well. After awhile at that task, he decided he wanted to pit the cherries. So he switched chairs and grabbed my citrus peeler(we were using the pointed end to get out the pits). Aris said he acted like he was a professional. All serious, he worked away until we had 9 cups of cherries pitted. My kids were amazing today! I was so proud of both of them. They both loved working alongside Mommy too.
Unfortunately, the rest of it didn't go quite so well. The hot jam exploded all over the stove and floor. Then I burnt my hand while filling jars. I'm not sure if the jam will set. If it doesn't, we'll eat it anyways. It will just be a thin jam. Yes, that's it. After that, extreme fatigue set in and I could barely keep my eyes open. Eventually the fatigue lifted enough that I mopped half of my floor and fixed dinner for my family. My dad came over bearing gifts of rhubarb, hugs and watermelon. He stayed for dinner. His enjoyment of the meal helped balance out the disbelief from our children that we were making them eat THAT! *sigh*
After dinner, Aris and I swam. I sit here in the calmness of the evening with my hair still damp and cool on my back. Six jewel-coloured jars of jam sit on my counter. My hand stopped hurting hours ago. The world is quiet and I am at peace.